Monday, April 28, 2008

Second Swimsuit Done!

Well, here it is: my second swimsuit is finished. This one went a LOT faster than my first one. I had to get used to handling the swim fabric and I also had to learn to properly use wooly nylon in my serger and coverstitch machine. Normally, I never like my work. I always find some flaw and declare it to be "ruined". However, I love the swimsuits I did. Yeah, they have small flaws, but to me, they're perfect!

As you can see, my daughter is so happy in her swimsuit. For the first time since she was a baby she finally has a swimsuit that fits. My oldest daughter pictured on the left here is especially hard to fit when we go clothes shopping. Bathing suits are pretty much impossible to fit her properly. She is extremely tall and skinny so to get a suit that fits around her without being too loose, it ends up being too short. Then it ends up pulling really hard on her and the bodice ends up lower than it should, making it look really weird. The suit I made her fits her beautifully and she loves showing it off. She got to pick out her own fabric, which she's very proud of. To give you an idea of how tall and skinny she is, I altered Kwik Sew 2605 down to a size 2 and added 3 3/8" for the height. The pattern only went down to a size 4 so needless to say, a LOT of work went into resizing this pattern.

You can read my review of this pattern here at PatternReview. I included more photos in the review and more details about the pattern.

Bottom line: if you're planning on sewing a swimsuit, go with a Kwik Sew pattern. Don't even look at the rest. Kwik Sew patterns are great and the instructions can't be beat. Kwik Sew swimwear patterns especially get excellent reviews I've noticed. If you've been too scared to try swimsuit sewing, get up and start now! I was nervous as well, but it turned out great and I discovered I actually love to sew swimwear.

Now I'm off to sew up a swimsuit for my baby daughter and for myself!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First Bathing Suit: DONE!

I'm so excited! Here it is! My first bathing suit ever! Now when I first pursued this project, everything I read stated that this is a very fun and simple sewing project. Well, maybe for others, but certainly not me. At least, not at first. It took me way too long to complete this, but after learning from my many mistakes, I'm confident the rest of my swimsuits will come along a lot faster.

Speaking of mistakes, I made quite a few of them. I learned from looking at ready-to-wear swimsuits that regular thread is used in the needles while the wooly nylon is only used in the loopers. I was doing a 3-thread overlock with all wooly nylon for the seams. After examining the RTW swimsuits, I realized I should have been doing a 4-thread overlock with regular serger thread in the needles and wooly nylon only in the loopers. I also messed this up when coverstitching and finally figured out my tensions were off because it needed regular thread in the needles--I was using all wooly. I feel kinda silly now, but then again, I'm new at all this! I didn't have much experience with wooly nylon thread. You also know that you've messed up beyond belief when you have a blister on your finger from picking out so much thread after seam ripping. Now that's sad. Really sad. So now that I'm all set, this turning out to be quite fun. Hopefully the next suit will come along much quicker.

Now the pattern I used is Kwik Sew 2605 which comes in size 4 for the smallest size. My daughters are a size 2, even my five-year-old. They are very tall and skinny like their daddy. Now I looked at the toddler swimsuit patterns and I didn't care for them at all. They looked too "babyish" for my big girls. Also, I really wanted the swimsuit with the racer back so they could frolick and rough-house in the water without straps sliding down. So being the brave (perhaps insane) soul I am, I decided I was going to alter the pattern to fit a size 2 girl with a size 4 height. So I scaled the pattern down to a size two and lengthened it on one line instead of the back waist and crotch length lines given. Scaling this thing down was so NOT fun!! When I got stuck I got my husband to help me. He doesn't sew but he LOVES math and extrapolating data. So he scaled it down and also scaled down the elastic requirements. The result of this insanity was a swimsuit that fits my daughter perfectly. I'm so shocked! Swimsuit shopping for my daughters, especially my oldest is not easy. Any suit that fits around them doesn't fit lengthwise. The result is a really low and weird looking bodice.

I'll write a pattern review on this pattern when I finish the second one I'm making from it.

Thanks to all those who are following my swimsuit adventure progress and thanks for your comments. It's always great to receive encouragement.

Monday, April 21, 2008

First Bathing Suit: Progress

Well, here it is: my first bathing suit in progress. This is a swimsuit for my three-year-old daughter. She picked out the fabric herself after I showed her pictures of fabric from the Spandex House website. When she first picked it out I was thinking "yuck". But the print has actually started to grow on me. It's got a retro look to it, it's cute on her, and it's different from anything I've seen in the stores for little girls this year. What's the point of sewing if I don't sew original things?

I still need to add the elastic bands to the armholes, legholes, and neckline, then topstitch all of those areas. I have a Janome Coverpro 1000 coverstitch machine, so I'm covered there.

I have got to rave about my serger: a Viking Huskylock 910. I freaking LOVE this machine!! This is my first time using wooly nylon in both loopers and the left needle. It handled it beautifully and I didn't have to tweak the tensions much at all. Gorgeous stitching and it handled the fabrics beautifully. Way better than my former serger the Janome Compulock. A special thanks to my handsome husband for getting me this wonderful Huskylock serger.

The overall concept of sewing a bathing suit is simple yes, however, it is pretty difficult when you've never worked with lycra before. The stuff is slipping all over the place. Last night I thought I'd rather slam my face into a car door repeatedly than to be working with this stuff. I think once I get the hang of holding onto the fabric and keeping the raw edges lined up as I'm serging, then I'll be cranking out these suits quickly. I think I'll enjoy swimsuit sewing immensely once I get the hang of handling the swim fabric.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Swimsuit Fabrics Purchased!

The fabrics I ordered for mine and my daughters' swimsuits arrived today! I was so excited to see that box on my front doorstep. The fabric on the left is actually a navy blue (hard to see in the photo I know). I ordered these fabrics from Spandex House. If you've never checked out their website...Oh my goodness! It's sensory overload. It took me FOREVER to decide which fabrics I wanted. It was insane. Their service was great and they sure are speedy getting your order to you! Definitely a lot different than walking into a JoAnn's or Hancock Fabrics to choose from a vast selection of about 8 different colors: all solids of course. Boring! Not only that, but these fabrics were way cheaper even! I paid $8.00 - $10.00 per yard at Spandex House. JoAnn's wanted $15.00 per yard for a solid color. Good grief! I would love to visit Spandex House in person, but since it's all the way up in New York City, don't think I'll be going.

So now I've got the fabrics. Today I'll be picking up the patterns. All of the patterns are Kwik Sew Patterns (naturally!). I'm armed with the best serger and coverstitch machine on the planet, so I should be ok here. I'm so excited to get started, but also nervous since I haven't done a swimsuit before in my life. Here's to fun this weekend!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Adorable Baby Outfit!

Well, I did it! I finally sewed something I'm 100% proud of. I can't believe I had a part in sewing this gorgeous outfit. Yesterday I finished the jogging suit for my baby daughter. The pattern is from Kwik Sew's Sewing For Baby book. I even added some cute embroidery to the outfit with my machine. Doesn't she look absolutely gorgeous in her outfit! I love my baby!

After I finished this outfit some friends of ours got to see her in it. The looks of astonishment I got when they heard I made it just made my day. I'm so used to sewing things and then when I'm done I look at them and say to myself "That's not quite right." You get so sick and tired of constantly tossing out ruined projects and dealing with so-so results. I'm on a sewing high after this success right now.

Since I'm feeling ultra brave after this project, I think I'll try my hand at sewing some swimsuits for my older two girls. My oldest daughter is extremely tall and skinny, so finding her a swimsuit that even fits is a challenge already. And that's without also adding to the fact that most swimsuits in the stores for little girls look like something that a street walker would wear. Ugh! I'm telling you, the swimsuits some people let their little girls's scary. Hopefully I'll have another sewing success story to post after the swimsuits are done.

I hope.